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America 13, Washington 8, Romney 7, Obama 6, Geico 4, Michael Beschloss 4, George W. Bush 4, Msnbc 4, Mitch Mcconnell 3, Halperin 3, Barack Obama 3, Hahaahahaha 3, Campbell 3, Harlem 3, John Boehner 3, New York 3, Elizabeth Warren 3, United States 2, Levemir Flexpen 2, Marco Rubio 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    November 7, 2012
    12:00 - 1:00pm EST  

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wooohooo....hahaahahaha! i'm gonna stand up to her! no you're not. i know. you know ronny folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than a witch in a broom factory. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. she islacking, repudiation, meltdown, landslide, mudslide, it's wednesday november 7th and this is "now." joining me today, msnbc political analyst and national affairs editor for new york magazine, one of our emmy darlings john heilemann, msnbc political analyst and former rnc
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chairman the notorious michael steele, host of msnbc's politics nation, the inimitable reverend al sharpton and "time" and political analyst, our other emmy darling mark halperin. >> america has given president obama a new four-year lease on the house at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. last night, it was the big "o" who had the big mo. >> the president not only won, but won big. >> this shellacking tonight. >> if we look at the electoral results, it looks like a rout. >> source close to the romney campaign summed up their feelings in three words, this one stings. >> the six-round knockout out of nowhere. >> we were sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the great pumpkin to rise. never came. >> no. >> as it turned out, no one sing state was crucial for the president with the exception of north carolina, president obama took every single battleground state. the only remaining question is
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florida which hasn't yet been called and where the president still holds a lead. last night at 12 minutes past 11:00, 12 minutes after obama was first declared the winner in 2008 the president clenched ohio and with it re-election. but a few were too shocked to believe it. >> all i'm saying is, is that look, we've had one instance where we're -- where something was prematurely called. >> karl rove is here with michael back there with the decision desk. we would like to refer to this as cage match 2012, bring it, go. >> just before midnight while karl rove protested and romney held at his hotel refusing to give in, dave weigel tweeted -- nobody tell rove but the ohio gop has conceded and gone home. at 12:50 in the morning, romney called to congratulate the president and shortly after used his concession speech to call for national unity. >> i so wished, i so wished that i had been able to fulfill your
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hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader and so ann and i join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation. >> just after 1:00 a.m., president obama took the stage in chicago and in an eeb lex cycle that has parsed every line, and smile, it was clear he saved his most powerful oratory for the very end. >> we are not as divided as our politics suggest. we're not as cynical as the pundits believe. we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states, we are and forever will be the united states of america. and together, with your help and god's grace, we will continue our journey forward. >> reverend al, the president rode into office on a wave of hope and change, but i wonder after last night, is the change
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really, perhaps, for the second term? could the president have a mandate to really change the way washington works? >> i think a lot of it will be the tone that he and the republican leadership set coming out of this. i think there is clearly the possibility of change. i think that on the president's side and those of us that have been supportive and the democratic side, it is not a day of "i told you so" or gloating, because there was at a lot risk here. we'll dealt everything in this election from voter suppression to gay rights to women rights, so in many ways, we can exhale and say, we didn't go backwards. now how do we put our best foot forward to go forward and appeal to the republicans that we need to have some common ground without compromising our principles. that's going to be a delicate balance. i think romney's statement last night was positive and obviously i'm not one that has given him a
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lot of commendations but he said what needed to be said last night that i didn't think he would and we'll see where it goes. i think that the president and what he said and the tone he set is where those of us that are supportive are going to have to rise to that and give him the room to operate. but at the same time say to him, we won, we don't want to see certain things sacrificed. >> i thought it was remarkable and nice for the american electorate that both men chose to focus on unity at a moment when it could have been about victory tore defeat and the message is let's carry this forward, we're still one united states of america. >> i think all of us have respect for both of them and have seen both of them act like that in their careers, not so much during the campaign itself. if those two guys had waged a campaign i think we would have had a better, more uplifting campaign and the winner would have had more of a mandate than i think the president has. he still has a big mandate. i think he's got tons of running room on the left. obama care is now going to be
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implemented. >> right. >> that alone is a historic achievement for progressives and the big things the presidents want to do he has to deal with the grand bargain that's going to require running room because the house controlled by the republicans. climate change, he brought up yesterday after not bringing it up much as a candidate, immigration selectively as a candidate, those are two things progressives would love to see. those are the three big items and i think the prospect of unity is the great opportunity of the fiscal cliff, which is otherwise filled with peril. if he doesn't solve it this term could be rough. if he does had he could have an even more productive term and term more in keeping with what the promise was of a bipartisan presidency in 2008. >> if you unpack how the president won, it is a coalition in many ways of a new america. looking at the demographics overall, president obama won 93% of black voters, 7b 1% of la
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teen -- 71% of latinos, 61% of young voters, 55% of women. overall i thought this was staggering. obama won 39% of the white vote. chairman steele, romney won 20% of it. there in lies the future and the republican party, my party, had better awaken itself to this new reality. i mean i tried during my tenure, i know, it gets -- ed gillespie tried a little during his tenure, ken mehlman. in each of the last three or four chairmanships we've had, this slow movement towards this reality. but i feel in many respects we took major step backwards in the last two years because it was so stark. the language, the way the people of this country reacted to us, our party, our language, and how we expressed our points of view. i think the reverend touched on
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something which is for me at least is going to be very is important in the ongoing debate, that is, compromising on our principles. the left doesn't want do it, the right doesn't want to do it, but both sides will have to find the consensus around those principles they share in common in order for us to move this forward. that i will look to the president for because he is the one i think who can set the tone and the pace with the leadership and say look, okay, we've been in this room before. we've done this crazy dance. now the american people have made it very clear what they want and this is a direction i think we should lead in. whether it's the issues that mark raised or other issues that the reverend has touched on, i think this is a clear moment where leadership can come together. >> don't you think some change has to come from republicans? there has to be some realization and actualization on the party side? >> no doubt about that. there has to be. look, you know, i understand and i'm sure a lot of folks in washington understand the history of, you know, the change that republicans have agreed to in the past that has not been honored by the left.
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and so that is the suspicion, that is the suspicion that underlines everything that they go into -- >> you're talking legislatively and i'm talking more in terms of the party itself and who is in the republican party. >> in one sense they're two separate things but in the other sense they're the same thing because a lot of that party piece, got those tea party activists -- i helped get those folks into congress. they got there on the principled argument, you know, i'm proud of that fact, on the principled argument -- >> a lot of facial expressions from the right. >> they got there on the principled arguments they wanted to do something about controlling government spending. so that was their principled argument. now a lot has happened since that. >> they also happened, be a lot of those tea partiers and conservatives in congress have put forward some of the most draconian legislation around social policy that cost them the election in many ways. john your skepticism, enthusiasm? >> i want to point out one thing was asian americans which the president performed -- >> which is telling. >> performed 70% of america that
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looks like you. it's -- the thing about all those coalition members and this i'm going to go what michael was talking about a second ago, not just performed incredibly strongly with them, all of them increased their percentage of the electorate over 2008. this is the coalition, not that just looks like the future of multi cultural america, the coalition of the ascendent. the white percentage of the vote was down by three points. every one of the groups you mentioned is larger than four years larger four years from now after that. so, you know, look the president's got to lead, but republicans face a political reality here. >> oh, yeah. >> that is if they don't get right with it, they are going to be in untenable, implausible governing party in america that is moving in the direction that it's moving. right now, if you -- if i were john boehner, the first thing i would do this afternoon is stand up and say, mr. president, let's do comprehensive immigration reform right now. we got to get the hispanic vote -- if republicans are --
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mitt romney got 26, 27% of the hispanic vote last night. if that's the trend down from john mccain, down from george bush, if that's the trend you are not just a -- a unsuccessful party you're a extix party. >> a huge opportunity for republicans. they can step up. >> you've seen some republicans acknowledge that this morning. "the new york times" writing this is not reagan's america anymore. what the democrats have is effectively the new coalition of america. >> i think following up on john's point, the reality that the republican leadership will have to face now is not only is it a new coalition or a new america, they're em boldnd because now we beat you twice, so we're not afraid of you john boehner, and we're not afraid of you tea party. we beat you. and now you've got to deal with the reality that those issues and those things you represented, don't fit. so if you're going to survive as
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a mainstream party, you're going to have to address the issue. it's not about just getting a guy like alan west and saying i have a black. you're going to have to deal with the -- >> substantively. >> things that appeal to the latinos, african-americans and gays or those issues and compete for their support based on their interests, not based on some window dressing. >> i'm sorry. real quick to both the points that were made here. for the republican party your know what our new reality is, every month, 50,000 hispanics turn 18 years old. every month. that's 600,000 hispanic youth every year. do you really think this party wants to spend the rest of the next 15, 20, 40, 50 years in the political desert? if they do, great, here's your moment. if you don't get real with the new reality. >> mark, that is something that has been acknowledged by people inside the republican party whether that's a jeb bush, whether it's a marco rubio, they just haven't had the power, i guess, within the power to make
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that a priority. does that happen after this? >> here's what i think messed them up. they had great success. the president gets elected. we're in the wilderness for a decade. chris christie and bob mcdonnell win and two months later scott brown wins later that year they shelack the president in the mid terms. they didn't come up with any ideas, with any strong leaders, they didn't come up with infrastructure, they didn't come up with ways to mobilize the grass roots beyond saying we'll stop obama, pelosi and reid. that glossed over the building of the things they needed. when the president was on the ballot and doing the contrast himself they couldn't win. they have to start doing that. once again, who are the leaders? where are the new ideas that appeal to the ascendent populations? where is the rethinking of how do we stand up to our party and bring them to the center on something like immigration. >> mark, to your point, we did have those new ideas. that's how we built the coalition of success es around the country, elected an alan west and -- >> well but that hasn't served
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the party. >> obama, pelosi and reid. >> no ideas how to balance the budget. >> you're talking macro. i'm talking micro. i'm talking on the ground in neighborhoods, there's a reason why my first trip as chairman was to go to harlem and hold a town hall in harlem the tuesday after my election as national chairman and the response to that was, why are you in harlem? that's where the voters are. so the core effort by the national party was to push down to the state parties to generate that energy remembering where we were coming from, '06 and '08. we didn't have -- >> i'm not -- minimizing the symbolism. >> jettison that. >> the symbolism of reaching out and since you left being chair, that went away and that's a big problem for the party. but to become a majority party -- >> yes. >> ideas, leaders, organizations. >> absolutely. >> coordination between the national party and congressional wing, nothing. >> didn't happen. true. >> and maybe stop talking about rape. that's my little asterisk to the end of that. we have to go to break.
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thank you as always to the reverend al sharpton for his insight. >> i leave you with the chairman and your $2. >> we're in good hands. >> news zombies. >> chairman and my two zombie darls. join reverend al sharpton for politics nation every week day at 6:00 p.m. eastern here on this channel we call home, msnbc. after the break, will last night's decisive defeat inspire soul searching within the gop? we will look at grand old problems next on "now."
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if you can't beat barack obama with this record, then shut down the party. shut it down. start new with new people because this is a gimme election. >> if the republican party cannot win in this environment it has to get out of politics. >> i think this victory will set off a civil war inside the republican party. there's going to be a lot of soul searching. this was a winnable election. the president was vulnerable. >> this was not alabama versus lsu. this was alabama versus ball state. i mean, wisconsin went early, michigan went early, pennsylvania went early. i mean, i -- as a republican, i cannot believe we lost virginia again. >> once upon a time, conservatives licked their chops at the prospect of taking on an incumbent in a down economy but that exuberance was finally dashed on tuesday night. now comes the wreckening, a
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struggle within the gop to figure out what happened. was it the candidate, was it the message, was it the country? quote, there will be some kind of war predicted mike murphy a long-time republican party consultant suggesting it would pit mathematicians like him against the party purists or priests as he puts it who believe that basic conservative principles can triumph without much deviation. "the wall street journa journal" faulted the party's transgents and offering another broadside against mitt romney calling him one of the least natural politicians off ur era. romney wasn't the only one who fell short last night. john cornyn, the man in charge of gop efforts to take over the senate, did soul searching after democrats appeared to be on the verge of gaining seats, a 180-degree turnaround from what many expected. cornyn wrote, quote --
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>> snortles around. joining the panel is jody kantor of the "new york times." welcome. >> thank you. >> a lot of assessment and dissection last night about what happened. i guess following all that sound and quotes, wrb does wrshs where does the gop go? fred barns writes no doubt the media must insist the republicans must change, embrace social liberalism, all that is hogwash which is why republicans are likely to reject it. their ideology is not a problem. >> my colleague carl set up a great contrast in this morning "times" and said the republicans have two camps. they have the mathematicians, people who are looking at the kind of demographic numbers you were talking about saying the party has no choice. then on the other hand, there
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are the priests, there are the hard-core ideologues who believe that if only the republican party could be more conservatively pure, they could dominate. so we are going to see the latest chapter of a struggle that has been playing out for a while over the soul of the gop. and in a way, it is a weird postponement of coming that was supposed to happen four years ago. four years ago we sat here, barack obama had had an even more transcendent victory than the one he had last night, and we were all predicting that there would be a huge reckoning in the gop that essentially never happened. >> you know, and independent of the sort of broader ideology of the gop, john, the exbe it polling on the actual policy i thought was staggering. in terms of who you blame for the economy, 53% of voters said george w. bush, 38% said obama. all those efforts throughout the year, throughout the last two years, to tie the president to the american economy, didn't seem to work. and then again on the people this thing, i think really,
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really matters and i've always said i don't think americans pull the lever for someone they don't like, exit pulling on who is in touch with people like you, president obama got 53%, mitt romney got 43%. >> yeah. it's interesting, you know, be certainly the obama team always thought that when they looked at their research, which they did copiously all the time and really aggressively, was that the understanding in the electorate of how deep the hole was that the president inherited was much more profound than we gave people credit for and that people, when they went out and talked to people in focus groups, people were not blaming george w. bush, as much as knowing it wasn't obama's fault and taking a long time. they kept asking themselves how can it be we're doing as well we're doing in this bad economy. they would go and ask people over and over again and people would say we know it's going to take four years or five years to get out of this hole. and then back the next year and the people would say the same thing. another four years. they got the deep structural problem with the economy and that in combination as you said with the president's likability.
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one of the interesting things about undecided voters at the end of an election the presumption is always if it's an incumbent president they've been living with three and a half years, if they're not for him in the summer of the election year they're looking for a reason to get to know, trying to figure out is the alternative acceptable. with obama he is in some ways so many people root for him, even people who disagree with him, even people who have issues with his economic management, they kind of want him to succeed and so i think it turned out with a lot of undecided voters they actually were always looking for a reason to get to yes as opposed to a reason to get to no. they never quite -- romney could never tear these people from the president. in the end they didn't love either option but rooted for obama more than they could ever root for romney. >> you see buyers remorse as "the wall street journajournal journal" mentions that mitt romney was an insufficient candidate. how much -- >> please. spare me. >> but how much do you think that's going to be a factor?
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>> i said this is so pitiful, the second-guessing, monday morning quarterbacking. we went through -- how many months of a republican primary, how many freakin', you know, debate we had. you had everybody and their sister and brother on that stage and the people in the party decided who they wanted. live with it. and now you have to design and reconfigure and understand exactly what this election has meant. so to sit back and say mitt romney wasn't this or that, cry me a river. it's too late. it doesn't change anything. it doesn't change any outcome and it doesn't advance the conversation about what the party needs to do next and what's needs to do next is take its head out of its you know what and understand exactly what's going on in this country. it looks a lot more like me and you than it does them. it sounds a lot more like the folks on this panel than it does what we hear inside of the party. it comes from neighborhoods that we have yet to even discover.
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so the reality for the party right now, is to stop the second guessing before it starts and to really understand you're got leaders right now, don't just put a marco rubio out in front and say we got one. you know, been there, done that. >> the quickest thing, just to add and interject, say whatever you want about romney doesn't explain what happened in the senate. >> exactly. exactly. >> you know, might explain romney but doesn't explain the rest of the problems the party has. >> seems what the party needs, i'm tired when my defenses are down i quote twitter attacks, they need a compassionate conservative, a reformer with results who's comfortable going after washington as a presidential candidate including his own party, who has a record as a governor, of getting things done. >> whose name is chris christie. >> george w. bush. george w. bush circa 1999. >> absolutely. >> i was going to say he's clearing brush in crawford right now. >> a successful governor who was a reformer with results who was
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comfortable with the right, but could speak to suburban voters and was not afraid to go to california, african-american neighborhoods and cleveland hispanic be neighborhoods. i think that person would do well for the republican party. >> it's the republican bill clinton of 1990/ '91. >> whose role we have not talked about in this break. >> in a web extra. >> web extra. halperin be volunteering to do a web extra. america heard that. america just heard that. web extra on bill clinton. coming up, americans once again select a democratic-controlled white house and senate while republicans retain the house. is the real winner gridlock? ways to unite these divided states just ahead on "now." [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin
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with re-election now in his rear view, will president obama finally get that bipartisanship he desired? here's what harry reid had to say moments ago. >> this was really the message the american people sent from all over and that is, they're tired of these partisan gridlocks. they're tired of things like well i have one goal, defeat obama. that's gone. obama was re-elected overwhelmingly. american people want us to work together. >> we will discuss the prospects for compromise next on "now." [ male announcer ] when was the last time something made your jaw drop? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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i'll work with anyone, and i really do mean that. democrat, republican, independent, libertarian,
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contrarian, vegetarian, i don't care. >> that was newly-elected massachusetts senator elizabeth warren on "morning joe" today talking about how far across the aisle she will reach. last night's elections left congress looking much the same as it did before voters went to the polls. at this hour, republicans still control the house. while democrats remain at the helm of the senate after a very good night during which they picked up two seats. in indiana joe donnelly beat richard mourdock in the race to replace dick lugar, massachusetts, elizabeth warren won a showdown against scott brown. the first signs of how the police congress will govern might come this afternoon when house speaker john boehner discusses the looming fiscal cliff. last night boehner struck a tone saying quote -- >> but he also seemed to
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indicate that compromise will only go so far. >> with this vote the american people have also made clear that there's no mandate for raising tax rates. >> that appeared to be the message from senator mitch mcconnell who has to work with a president he vowed to only give one time and said last night -- >> joining us now from washington is chief national correspondent for "the new york times" magazine, mark leibovich. mark leibovich, what we know and what we don't know. >> hi, alex. >> what we don't know is how this congress works. what we know is the upper
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chamber may be even fyhrier -- fierier -- you're the man of words. it's cruz will be legislating alongside elizabeth warren as a denison of washington, d.c., politics, what do you think the implications of that are? >> well, i mean, look, every senate and every congress has its own sort of ecosystem and its own personality. granted mitch mcconnell and harry reid will still be in charge but i think that calculus of one president obama not being an incumbent anymore and also mitch mcconnell having another four years removed from his initial are imperative to defeat the president will be different. there's always going to be ideological divides, you know, among specific members, whether it's ted cruz or elizabeth warren or jesse helms and ted kennedy but i think the larger personality of the senate will be dictated to some degree by the leadership again but also from the white house and what
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kind of tone is struck between congress and president obama going forward. i think there are some real chances just because of the calendar and also because of the results last night to maybe do some things in the first year or so that might not be there after the mid terms. >> mark, you had a great piece a while back about terry mcauliffe and haley barbour, for a lack of a better term good old boys network, they all got along, enjoyed the game of politics. we saw a pretty deep hemorrhaging of moderates from the senate. the old guys who used to like -- and ladies who liked to make deals are not so much there anymore. i wonder, you know, what that means in terms of dealmaking on whole, while the president may work more closely with the senate if the senate can't get its cats herded into the same wheel da wheelbarrow -- i'm going for it -- how does anything get done? >> essentially the
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mcauliffe/barbour model is different because they're both out of office and businessmen now. the larger point of that story is washington is a bipartisan place when it comes to business dealings, when it comes to frankly making money out of office. i think, you know, the more relevant and frankly more sort of obsolete model is the ted kennedy jshs john mccain, ted kennedy/orrin hatch, very, very powerful lawmakers in office who actually would make deals. i mean i think the last big one you would see would have been the immigration deal of i guess that was 2006, which never passed. again, that took some moderates, that took some real leadership across the aisle from the ideological polls to actually get something done. i just don't -- i think those people are very much disappearing. a lot has been centered again on the sort of gridlock leadership environment and the dealmakers aren't there anymore and john mccain was a classic dealmaker
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until he sort of stopped being one after 2008. so we're going to see who's going to emerge, if there will be anyone. >> jody, in terms of the president and how he negotiates the new congress, which, you know, in terms of balance of power is not radically shifted but getting his priorities through, mark mentioned immigration reform, talked about that, climate change put sort of front and center in the bloomberg endorsement, what's your feeling on how he approaches the second term and his relationship which has been frosty with republican leadership? >> he has two things on his side now. he has much more washington experience than he did four years ago and he also has a better result really than anybody expected. today especially when we look at what happened in the senate. it really does seem like americans did send a message. the question that people in washington ask is, will he reach out more? it's become almost this perennial lament. you can hear it on any street corner in washington. will the president be warmer? will he invite people in?
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will he spend more casual time with members of congress to start to defrost the ice. >> i mean, my assumption, mark, maybe this is me just, i don't know, spitballing, but he does some -- there is some gesture in the immediate weeks following his re-election, that he does -- not necessarily the grand bargain, but that there is a concerted outreach to republican leadership given how much he was beating the drum of a united states of america, that he knows how much the gridlock is not serving anybody well. >> he has a legacy of how he conducted himself with limited outreach to republicans and democrats. you could say have the baners and mcdonnells up to camp david one weekend soon. it's going to take more sustained contact than just a few symbolic things. and it's not something he's been willing to do up to now and not clear that he's -- he feels he needs to do it. now there's talk of jack lube going from chief of staff to treasury secretary. he's a good deal maker and has
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decent relationships on the hill. he needs either a new chief of staff if jack moves or new treasury secretary if it's someone else, a true ambassador that can do a lot of the heavy lifting that neither the president or vice president can do day in and day out to get the thing moving on the basis of trust and respect. >> do you think democrats and specifically the white house will say what can we do to make it better, how can we circle the wagons and emerge stronger? >> i don't think the obama administration really believes very much in gesture or the invitations to camp david or wherever will do a lot, but i think both parties by nare tour of elections will go through some process where they feel like there is some reconciliation that's necessary and figure out a way do it. we'll see. >> maybe a beer summit. thank you to "the new york times" magazines mark leibovich,
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thanks as always, sir. coming up, americans are about to get another four years of president obama, so what will they get policy wise? perhaps second term agendas of the past can be a guide. we will climb into the way back machine ahead on "now."
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♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on your medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to walmart.com for details. governor mitt romney campaigned on the promise that he would repeal obama care on day one. but the president's re-election put that what if to bed last night. what policies can we expect from term two? we will get some perspective when presidential historian michael beschloss joins us next. ♪ ♪ ♪
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the first policy victory of president obama's second term is already known and it is something that will not change. obama care. governor romney had vowed to
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repeal the affordable care act on day one but the president's re-election cements its full implementation. ezra klein notes the president's financial reforms and expiring bush tax cuts are victories ensured by last night's results. he writes -- while in 2008 the election was a vote for hope in 2012 his re-election carries a guarantee of change. joining us is presidential historian michael beschloss. thanks for joining the program. >> pleasure, alex. >> really interesting dynamic here in terms of how president obama is treated in the long arc of had history and i guess can you give us an example, the historian you are, of previous presidents that have had rocky first terms but whose second terms cement the gains made in their first terms? >> they generally don't tend to because alex, if you look over the last century, usually these two-term presidents have the awful second terms, almost without exception. lot of reasons for that. but one of them has been, perhaps nixon is the best case
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of this or lbj, during the first term and in lbj's case, 1964, there are as lot of things they want to do, they'll be politically controversial but wait until i get a big re-election and then a president that doesn't have to worry about the electorate and let it rip the year after i'm re-elected 37 in johnson's case, great society but big escalation of vietnam. 1973 nixon after the landslide declared a program of such extreme conservatism that people wondered if it was the same as the first term president. in a way barack obama has been the opposite of that because the most important thing i think he wanted to do was health care, perhaps the most politically costly, and he did it in a contrarian way, actually instead in his first two years so i think you don't have this big sense that he's saving something up for next year. >> and yet, john, if president obama didn't get the second term it would have unwound the gains made in the first. the dichotomy between how the american public assesses him in
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the long lens of history is dramatically changed by the addition of the second term. >> massively. if you think that d the affordable care act is at this moment has changed almost nothing. it could fundamentally change, a huge piece of domestic policy and could change a large chunk of the economy, sixth or seventh of the economy but it's not been implemented yet. that alone has changed his place in history, the fact that we're going to see whether it works or not, whether it really does have the impacts it's going to have. i think that the president, you know, there are no great presidents who have -- who have only been one-term presidents. for the president thinks of himself in historic terms and re-election beyond the specifics of policy, winning re-election and having a chance to do other things in terms of policy but just winning re-election makes -- cements his place. there would have been a narrative, fair or not, there would have been people in the country who said he was a failure, an accident of history, not a genuinely historic figure
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if he lost. they could never say that now, no matter what happens in the last four years. >> on the question of race, i remember talking to melissa harris perry a few months ago, almost the re-election of america's first black president in some ways means more for racial progress than the initial election of the first one. >> yeah. i put them on equal footing. i think the history of last night was lost on a lot of people as well. we took a profound step forward as a nation to say, and to judge the first term of the first black president to such an extent that they say okay, you get another term and to john's point, that is very much an important part of that legacy. it really gurdss that legacy, whether obama care or anything else the president does, i think that now sort of cements him in history to have accomplished something that quite frankly a lot of people, friend and foe alike, didn't think was possible.
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there was real skepticism about whether or not the country -- we did it once, do we really need to do this again? and they did. and i thought that was an important step forward. >> we haven't talked too much about the supreme court appointments. >> right. >> minor detail. >> minor detail but in terms of the legacy that president obama leaves behind, i mean he could have, as sam stein tweeted yesterday, ruth bader ginsburg is researching retirement plans tonight. it is very likely that there will be some new obama appointments to the bench. >> yes. i think it is very likely and you know if you look back at the legacy of george w. bush, one of the most long-lasting legacies he left not only appointing a chief justice, justices to the supreme court, but judges at lower levels all over the united states who are going to serve as conservative judges for a very long time. >> jody? >> i was just going to say that i would bet if we're sitting here four years from now discussing barack obama's legacy, we will be talking about something totally different that none of us are considering right now. >> absolutely right.
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>> the pattern of this and every other presidency is that they just get overtaken by events. if you had told barack obama's team in november 2008 that they would be dealing with the fate of greek pensioners and that this would help determine the outcome of the presidential election they would have looked at you like you had three heads and we are just at such a turbulent time in the world. think of the storm that happened last week. you know, although of course the president has to make his plans, i just have a feeling that we don't know what's really going to happen. >> michael, just the fact that johnson, vietnam, you think about foreign policy or things that can come out of nowhere and often are the things that define for positive or negative president's legacy and we can't anticipate will happen in the four years for obama. >> absolutely. >> it's been a tumultuous time on the stage, michael beschloss. >> indeed. and one or two things may happen in the middle east and it may be very soon. >> and as mark halperin points out who could have predicted anthony weiner would be back on
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twitter during this hour. >> hold the presses. the biggest event of the last year. >> it is the biggest event. >> you mentioned frosties two segments ago, all i'm thinking about. >> priorities. priorities. >> we all are running on very little sleep. thank you from the depth of my heart, especially to you, nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss for being the adult in the room. >> you're in bad shape, alex. >> friendliest way. our package, our power panel, john heilemann, chairman steele, jody kantor and mark who's shielding his face halperin, that is all for now. see you tomorrow noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when joined by joy reed, governor ed rendell, eric baits and deep into the 2012 voter data cave with my buddy and author sash that eisenberg. find us at facebook.com/now with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. wooohooo....hahaahahaha!
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